Lamont Weekly Report, August 28, 2015

      As August draws to a close and the onset of the fall semester looms, members of the incoming class of graduate students in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences continue to arrive. A new student orientation next Tuesday in the Comer seminar room will be the kick-off to their studies. The 18 new students, their home Lamont divisions, and their advisors, are as follows:

Student Division Advisors
Seung Hun Baek OCP Smerdon
Anna Barth Geochem Plank, Ruprecht
Alexandra Boghosian MGG Bell
Genevieve Coffey SGT Savage, Polissar
Lorelei Curtin BPE d'Andrea
Mingduo (Ted) Dong SGT Menke
Laura Gruenburg OCP Gordon
Jing Jean Guo OCP Fiore
Xiaomeng Jin OCP Fiore
Tierney Larson MGG Steckler, Gaherty
Jingzhi (Amanda) Liang BPE Raymo
Rachel Marzen MGG Shillington, Buck
Josh Maurer Geochem Schaefer
Carly Peltier Geochem Kaplan
Joshua Russell SGT Gaherty
Julia Tejada AMNH Flynn
Xiaochuan (Kelvin) Tian MGG Buck
Lucy Tweed Geochem Kelemen

Please join me in welcoming our new colleagues!

    In a paper published online earlier this month in Journal of Tropical Ecology, Ed Cook and colleagues from Hawaii, Hong Kong, and Australia reported the first documentation of annual growth rings in trees from the eastern tropical Pacific region. The tree, Sophora chrysophylla, is native to subalpine zones on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, and its ring width patterns correlate with rainfall levels during August of the previous year. The group’s discovery opens the possibility that dendrochronological studies of this species on Hawaii and other islands may provide new constraints on the climate history of the eastern tropical Pacific. A Stacy Morford story about this work provides additional details (    

     Tim Kenna is aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy, a polar icebreaker, as part of the Arctic GEOTRACES program to characterize the trace chemistry of Arctic Ocean water and its response to rapid climate change. His latest blog this week, posted by Margie Turrin (, features a diverse sampling of his photos of sea ice and an inquisitive polar bear.

     Our website this week also gained a Kevin Krajick story on Yaakov Weiss’s work on fluid inclusions in diamonds and their implications for the subduction, release, and movement of fluids in Earth’s mantle ( The story is linked to a photo essay on North American diamonds ( In addition to his role as Senior Editor, Science News, for the Earth Institute, Kevin authored the book Barren Lands: An Epic Search for Diamonds in the North American Arctic.

     On Wednesday and Thursday this week, I was in Woods Hole for a meeting of the Science Team for the GRAIL spacecraft mission, held at the Jonsson Center of the National Academies, overlooking Quissett Harbor. Alex Evans and Peter James joined me at the meeting.

    Several Lamont scientists were in the news this week. Art Lerner-Lam provided comments in an Asbury Park Press story on the prospects for a damaging earthquake in New Jersey ( Adam Sobel was interviewed Wednesday by the (Halifax) Herald News on the impact of global warming on the strength of Atlantic hurricanes ( Also on Wednesday, John Mutter was quoted in an article in FiveThirtyEight on lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina on the occasion of the storm’s 10-year anniversary (

    Notwithstanding the currently strong El Niño and its tendency to lessen the frequency and severity of Atlantic hurricanes, tropical storm Erika now en route to southern Florida promises to punctuate weather news for this late summer weekend.